West Philadelphia Skills Initiative Receives Transformative $3.5 Million in Grant Support from PEW



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West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as the recipient of a $3.5 million growth grant through the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services (Pew Fund). This 5-year grant is among the largest in our workforce program’s history and will provide significant support for continued impact in the region.

“Pew was a very early investor in the Skills Initiative, believing in our model and our highest aspirations,” says University City District President Matt Bergheiser. “Now, this wonderful grant award comes at a critical and exciting time in our evolution, helping us to expand our efforts citywide and deepen our focus on quality jobs for talented Philadelphians. We are truly grateful, and could not be more excited for what the future holds.”

They created the Skills Initiative in 2011 to close the opportunity gap and address unemployment in West Philadelphia. WPSI acts as both a talent consultancy for major employers and a bridge to opportunity for disconnected jobseekers. A cohort-based training model, WPSI is unlike any workforce approach in Philadelphia. The program goes beyond traditional training to place graduates with employer partners, co-design training solutions and placement strategies, and create pathways to family-sustaining wages and career growth.

The Pew Fund’s growth grants are awarded to help significantly expand Philadelphia-area organizations’ capacity to provide high-quality, research-informed services that produce equitable outcomes for individuals facing complex challenges rooted in poverty. Grantees are selected based on a track record of strong program outcomes, solid leadership and management, financial health, operational viability, a commitment to use of data for evaluation and learning, and an ambitious vision to have a positive impact on an important community need.

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